Title: 100 Days of Cake
Author: Shari Goldhagen
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 17, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Source: ARC for review from publisher
Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.
There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.
Um, no. Never going to happen.
But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.
What I liked:
- I read this book in one day during the Mental Health Awareness Readathon. Our main character Molly is dealing with depression, and I thought the book did a great job and accurately portraying it, including mostly positive portrayals of therapy. Molly has a lot of inner turmoil, anxiety, and confusion about her depression and the book handled this really well.
- Molly’s mom reads somewhere that she can cure Molly’s depression by baking her a cake every day for 100 days. The only problem is that she’s an awful cook. Reading Molly and co try to stomach all her awful concoctions was so entertaining. It was fun to see what she’d come up with next and how each cake was described and what they did with all the gross leftover cakes.
- This is a book that deals with a serious topic, mental illness, but still manages to be a light-hearted enjoyable read. Sometimes books about mental health can be really heavy and tough to get through, but I didn’t find that to be the case with this one.
- The Golden Girls! Molly and Alex were obsessed with the show and it became a big part of their relationship that I absolutely loved. They watched episodes over and over while they were at work, and I liked reading about Molly’s favorite episodes and characters.
What I didn’t like:
- There is some stuff that goes down with Molly’s doctor that we never see resolved. He should have been fired but Molly is way too casual and apathetic about it for my taste. Those parts were really uncomfortable for me to read.
- Elle, Molly’s best friend, was quirky and interesting, but she was also so annoying. She slut shamed constantly and was never really called out for it, which drove me insane. Plus, the girl she was slut shaming was Molly’s FIFTEEN year old sister. Ugh. She was also a stereotypical animal rights hippie, and that part of her personality was exaggerated and over the top. I’m a vegetarian myself, but I don’t like it when people push their beliefs on everyone else and are constantly judging others.
- Molly and her sister have a volatile relationship, and I would have liked to see more resolution from the two of them. Their interactions were some of my favorite to read about.
About the Author:
After serious pursuits of literature at Northwestern (BSJ) and Ohio State (MFA), Shari Goldhagen discovered she had a knack for sifting through celebrity trash and worked as a gossip writer for publications including The National Enquirer, Us Weekly, and Life & Style Weekly. And her articles on pop culture, travel and relationships have appeared everywhere from Cosmopolitan to Penthouse. She has received fellowships from Yaddo and MacDowell and currently lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.
5/24: YA Indulgences – Q&A
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.